Alternative Names

Tumor – retina; Cancer – retina

Definition of Retinoblastoma

Retinoblastoma is a rare, cancerous tumor of a part of the eye called the retina.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Retinoblastoma is caused by a mutation in a gene controlling cell division, causing cells to grow out of control and become cancerous.


One or both eyes may be affected.

Signs and tests

The doctor will perform a complete physical exam, including an eye exam. The following tests may be done:


Treatment options depend upon the size and location of the tumor.

Expectations (prognosis)

If the cancer has not spread beyond the eye, almost all patients can be cured. A cure, however, may require aggressive treatment and even removal of the eye in order to be successful.


David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc., and Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. – 3/21/2010


ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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